A Tree Diagram: Compilation of Methods for Evaluating Host Rock Suitability Taking Account of Uncertainties in Hydrogeological Modeling

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Atsushi Sawada1, Akira Hayano2, Junichi Goto3 and Manabu Inagaki3, (1)Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Engineering Laboratories, Tokai-mura, Ibaraki, Japan, (2)Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Horonobe Underground Research Center, Horonobe-cho, Hokkaido, Japan, (3)Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, Tokyo, Japan
In Japan, the siting process of geological repositories for vitrified high-level radioactive waste and low-level radioactive waste containing long-lived nuclides shall comprise step-wise site investigations and evaluations. The Detailed Investigation Areas will be selected focusing on the suitability for the host rock where the underground facility is constructed, after a series of surface-based investigations at Preliminary Investigation Areas. The suitability shall be judged by considering multi-disciplinary performances of the rock mass, such as thermal, hydrologic, mechanical and geochemical conditions and the volume of rock mass, based on the site models. However, the limited geoscientific information yields relatively large uncertainties of the site models, especially the hydrogeological models due to a wider variability of hydraulic properties. The uncertainties make it difficult to clarify the relationship among the site investigation, repository design (Design) and safety assessment (SA). In this study, groundwater travel time is identified as one of the important evaluation factors relevant for SA in terms of hydrology. In addition, the various options for evaluating the groundwater travel time are put together into a tree diagram. The highest level of the tree diagram is defined by the evaluation factor (groundwater travel time), and evaluation methods are systematically classified into multi-levels that comprise analytical methods/models in one dimension and three dimensions, parameters, datasets, data and investigation methods. Multiple options, such as alternative cases and/or models caused by uncertainties in data, analytical methods and models, are incorporated at each level of the tree diagrams. The feasibility of the tree diagram was examined by tracing both analytical options. Through this examination, the importance of interaction among the site investigation, SA and Design was also demonstrated.